Ales Hemsky

Four moves to be made after the roster freeze

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Now that the holiday roster freeze is over with, teams are free to go about their business and start making those mid-season tweaks to help them stay in the playoff hunt. Some teams have obvious issues, others not so much but there are a handful of moves that could be near the top of the list.

Ales Hemsky’s last days in Edmonton?

Ales Hemsky has been quarreling with coach Tom Renney of late with Renney even going so far as to complain about what kind of stick Hemsky is using. Hemsky’s production is a bit off but there’s no doubt he’s a solid scorer. Teams are asking about Hemsky, but the Oilers might not be selling yet. If Hemsky is just about done in Edmonton they should move him before he winds up hurt again.

Philly wants a defenseman

With no Chris Pronger to bash guys around for the rest of the season and playoffs, the Flyers will need some help on the blue line, but who? Tim Gleason has been talked about as a possibility and Kyle Quincey very well might be available in Colorado. Gleason fits the Pronger role a bit easier but Quincey provides solid all-around play at a young age. Paul Holmgren won’t make a panic move, but they’ll need a little something extra without Pronger.

Tampa Bay needs a lot of help

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman could use some help both on the blue line and in goal. With injuries last night to Victor Hedman and Eric Brewer, their defensive depth is taking a beating. Making matters worse is that neither Mathieu Garon nor Dwayne Roloson can stop pucks well enough for them to win. Yzerman won’t make a rash decision, but getting a long term answer in goal could go a long way to stopping the bleeding in Tampa. Coughing up big for Cory Schneider or Jonathan Bernier would be the obvious ways to do that.

Big shakeup in Washington?

Firing Bruce Boudreau and hiring Dale Hunter hasn’t done much to fix things in Washington which leads us to wonder if a big trade here might be the medicine the Caps need to turn things around. Would moving Alexander Semin help out? Perhaps sending Mike Knuble to a contender in need of help? GM George McPhee might have to take some long looks at the guys on his roster to figure out who should stay and who should go.

Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms

at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.

After beating the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, the Canucks held on for the 2-1 victory in Arizona on Wednesday, despite being without Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alex Edler (broken fibula) and Derek Dorsett, who was scratched from the lineup due to illness, as per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.

It was only a few days ago, following a home loss to the Calgary Flames, that it felt like the Canucks’ playoff hopes were essentially dashed. They fielded their healthiest lineup in months and couldn’t score and couldn’t win.

Two quick wins later, they’re two points out of a Wild Card spot in the West, despite getting outshot in Arizona.

Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.

Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut

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A day after getting traded out of Toronto, Dion Phaneuf made his Ottawa Senators debut.

It ended with a 3-1 road loss for the Senators, and Phaneuf getting burned by Henrik Zetterberg on the eventual game winner early in the third period.

Zetterberg picked up the puck near the Ottawa blue line, beat Phaneuf to the outside, slipped the puck under the stick of the Sens’ newest blue liner and quickly roofed his shot on Craig Anderson.

“He made a real good play and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due,” Phaneuf told the Ottawa Sun.

“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”

Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.

Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.

DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”